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Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen
Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen
Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen
Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen
Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen

Antique French Billet Doux, Wood Transfer, Etui for Love Notes in 1800s, Treen

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The French billet doux, a fabulous "story" piece, these tubes were not (as sometimes mistaken) cigar cases, but were the transport tubes into which notes or correspondence (traditionally love notes - billet doux meaning sweet notes) from the time of Marie-Antoinette and before. This one is 19th century, and a transfer ware souvenir, c.1850s Grand Tour, from a monastery. The monastery is noted and is La Trappe Abbey or La Grande Trappe is a monastery in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. It is known for being the house of origin of the Trappists, formally known as the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. The images show not only the monastery, but also the death of "the religious", a figure in a coffin. Very interesting subject, indeed.

Very good to excellent condition for age and type, these date to mid-1800s or early to mid-Victorian era, and Grand Tour travelers sought out mementos of their visits to wondrous places, creating the tourist trades and items such as this one. One would roll or scroll a document and place inside, the case would be closed and sealed with a sealing wax daub and pressed imprint to insure it was not opened en route. This one seems not to have ever been used. One could, ostensibly, consider using it as an interesting cigar case, I suppose. But the actual story of these is much more fascinating, isn't it. The images on this one are either laid in transfer or are lithographed directly onto the wood (the latter would be my guess based on the surface). No chips, no cracks, no loss to note. Measurements noted on the photos for your review, but this one is 5 3/8" long, closed, and 7/8" diameter.